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Recipe Review

Date Night Dinners—Meals to Make Together for a Romantic Evening: Cookbook for Two

by Sloane Taylor

Left to right: Mock Chicken Legs, Parsley Potatoes, Truly Yummy Brussel Sprouts

 

Sloane Taylor asked us to try some of the recipes in her new Date Night Dinners—Meals to Make Together for a Romantic Evening: Cookbook for Two, and Catherine decided to do an entire meal—over achiever that she is. For the salad she chose WARM ENDIVE AND PINE NUTS. The remainder of the meal (pictured above) was MOCK CHICKEN LEGS, PARSLEY POTATOES, and TRULY YUMMY BRUSSEL SPROUTS. We made some modifications to a couple of the recipes based on what we could find in our grocery, and the finished meal still tasted great.

We have to admit that Catherine wasn’t very adventurous in her choices as we love chicken, beef and pork, potatoes, and Brussel sprouts, but we have never had them cooked quite like this.

Endive, however, isn’t common on our dinner plates. Iceberg, romaine and mixed greens are our usual salad choices. So, Catherine did get adventurous in her choice of salad, WARM ENDIVE AND PINE NUTS. Unfortunately, she made the salad on a different day than the rest of the meal, and forgot to take a picture of it. But, rest assured, the salad was good.

We couldn’t find Belgian endive in our grocery, so Catherine used a regular endive. The greener version made the salad reminiscent of a wilted lettuce salad her mother used to serve. We weren’t sure about the mustard in the dressing, as Catherine isn’t fond of mustard, except in deviled eggs. But the Dijon mustard had a mild enough taste that it enhanced, not overpowered, the dressing. We’ll make the dressing exactly like the recipe when we do this salad again. It was a nice change from the iceberg, Romaine and mixed greens we usually use.

We love a dish very similar to the MOCK CHICKEN LEGS in the cookbook. Here where we live it’s call City Chicken. Catherine’s mother used to serve a fried pork version, dipped in cornmeal, when Catherine was younger. Sloane’s version is a bit more elegant than our childhood version as it’s browned then baked. It smelled wonderful when we brought it out of the oven. We used beef and chicken from the local meat market. They didn’t have veal. We also used a breading that had Pecorino Romano cheese in it. When we want Mock Chicken legs again, we will choose chicken and pork tenderloin, eliminating the beef completely, as we try to eat less beef nowadays.

This recipe has now become our go-to for an improved, updated version of our childhood “City Chicken.” No more “chicken-on-stick” from the meat counter. We’re making it from scratch from now on. Definitely a winner in our kitchen!

 

MOCK CHICKEN LEGS

INGREDIENTS:

Use equal amounts of the three meats. If you are anti-veal, the beef and pork alone are still great. Increase their amounts to 1½ lbs. (750g) each.

1 lb. (450g) eye of round or other high quality beef roast, cut into 2 inch (5cm) cubes 1 lb. (450g) pork tenderloin, cut into 2 inch (5cm) cubes 1 lb. (450g) veal shoulder, cut into 2 inch (5cm) cubes
3 eggs
Freshly ground pepper to taste
1½ (160g) cups seasoned bread crumbs, possibly more
Olive oil
Skewers 6 – 8 inches (15 – 20cm) long

Alternate the meat cubes as you skewer them. Set aside on waxed paper.

**Stop here if you plan to cook the legs another day. If you made extras, this is the time to freeze them. Lay the skewers on a cookie sheet. Cover with cling wrap and refrigerate.

On the day of serving, combine eggs and pepper in a shallow bowl. Dip the skewers, one at a time, into the mixture. Roll in the bread crumbs then set them back onto the waxed paper. Refrigerate for at least ½ hour to set the coating.

Preheat oven to 350° F (180°C).

Heat ½ inch (1.25cm) olive oil in a frying pan. When the oil shimmers, carefully put in a few skewers and brown well on all sides. As they are cooked set them into a baking dish, stacking the skewers is fine.

Cover the dish and bake for 1 – 1 ½ hours or until fork tender.

Do NOT add any liquid to the meat. This dish produces its own fantastic sauce.

 

For our potato dish we chose PARSLEY POTATOES (POMMES DE TERRE SILLEES).
These parsley potatoes are a form of scalloped potatoes. The bay leaves added an interesting flavor to the dish. The only change we’d make is using a bit more milk. Our dish turned out a bit dry, but we’ll blame the cook, not the recipe.

TRULY YUMMY BRUSSELS SPROUTS was our vegetable choice. We love roasted Brussel sprouts tossed in olive oil and garlic powder. So, we were anxious to see how these stacked up. We weren’t disappointed. The bacon and onion are stellar additions to the sprouts. The flavor inspired us. This winter, when we don’t mind heating the kitchen with the oven, we’ll toss some onions and bacon onto our roasting sheet. Be sure to cook the sprouts until they are fork-tender. Catherine rushed them and they were a bit chewy, but still delicious enough that we ate the whole skillet.

Well, that’s our take on the four delicious recipes we tried from Date Night Dinners—Meals to Make Together for a Romantic Evening: Cookbook for Two. You can find Sloane Taylor’s cookbook on Amazon. Available in paperback or Kindle.

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